Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Science: Physics

The Science: Physics one-year PGDipEd (QTS) course is structured to develop a deep understanding of the pedagogy and didactics of Physics, grounded in practical competence in classrooms. You will be challenged to develop informed and justified decisions about how you approach your teaching, in order to enable you to continue to develop over your career. You will be expected to develop these insights, although in less depth, across all facets of the sciences. This science: physics teacher training course attracts bursaries of up to £20 000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priorities to increase the number of Physics teachers. For those who do not meet the entry requirements, we also offer a new Physics Subject Enhancement course.

We offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDipEd) rather than a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at the University of Birmingham, as we believe we should provide student teachers with the highest level of teacher training possible. Both qualifications lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but the PGDipEd also offers 120 credits at Master’s level (out of 180), which makes it a highly rewarding course by combining both theory and practice. Once student teachers have completed their PGDipEd and successfully passed their induction year they may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete their Masters in Teaching Studies.

If you are a graduate Engineer or Physicist who would prefer to teach Physics with Mathematics, our new Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Physics with Mathematics course offers this opportunity.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

UCAS code: F3X1

Study Options: Full time

Duration: 36 weeks

Start date: September

Details

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been recently graded as 'outstanding' for the third consecutive time by Ofsted inspectors which reaffirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. The Ofsted report states that “such is the confidence of schools that trainees from the University of Birmingham are of high quality, employment rates for both primary and secondary phases exceed national averages by some margin. Trainees display excellent professional qualities: they are clear that good teaching leads to pupils who are interested in their work, enjoy learning and behave well.”

There is currently high demand for teachers of Science who have expertise in Physics and there are substantial bursaries associated with training in the subject.

The Initial Teacher Education course

The Science: Physics Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course is 36 weeks long of which 24 weeks are spent on placement in a partnership school. There are five phases: Preparation (university and some school-based activities); School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school); Development (university and one week in your second school); School Placement 2 (12 week block placement and some university days); Completion (two further weeks in second school and two weeks in university).

Activity is central to learning how to teach physics and science as you need to learn how to act for yourself. This activity will include a good deal of exemplification of teaching, personal practice and collaborative hard thinking. Through this you will become better at planning lessons, assessing the success of your lessons and managing children within those lessons. You will also find out what children find hard about certain topics, how to vary your approach to minimise these difficulties, and so develop a range of teaching strategies, deploying many different technologies. As an essential part of this you will find yourself coming to grips with the national requirements and strategies, as well as engaging in the pleasure of doing some physics.

You may also be interested in our other two PGDipEd science courses:

pdficonsmall Download a summary document for the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Science: Physics course (PDF, 64.5KB)

Physics Enhancement Course (Physics SKE)

If you would like to become a Science teacher, have a degree in a science subject and a Mathematics or Physics A-level you can apply to join our 18-month route to becoming a Science teacher with a specialism in Physics. The route consists of an 18-week full time Physics Subject Enhancement Course which would be followed by joining our 36-week Science: Physics PgDipEd (QTS) course. The SKE would start on 10th February 2014 with entry points which allow students to undertake courses of 12 and 8 weeks. This will be followed by the PGDipEd starting in September 2014. Applications for the course are through UCAS.

Please get in touch with John Kirkman (j.r.kirkman@bham.ac.uk) for more details or for an informal conversation.

Information on all our PGDipEd(QTS) secondary subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course page.  

Equal Opportunities

The School of Education is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents: 

pdficonsmall School Mission Statement (PDF 23KB, opens new window)

Disability and Disability Equality Scheme
Race Equality

Modules

All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignments. In addition students will need to complete two teaching placements and meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

School Studies 1:

(20 credits Level M)

This module, which consists of university based seminars and school based practical experience, will offer opportunities for you to develop your understanding and practice of teaching. In particular, the planning and evaluation of learning experiences for small groups, supported by exploration of the place of your subject within national frameworks and initiatives which will include at least one area of cross-curricular concern.

Aims

  • plan for, teach and evaluate learning experiences for small groups; 
  • understand the place of your subject within national frameworks and initiatives; 
  • develop an awareness of a least one area related to whole school issues in the context of your subject; 
  • develop an awareness of some of the research in the whole school issues field in the context of your subject.

School Studies 2: 

(20 credits Level M)

These university based seminars will enable you to develop an understanding of the needs of learners within a subject discipline and in secondary schools. You will also reflect on the teaching placement (School Placement 1) in your school and learn to plan and evaluate teaching experiences which will consider the role of learners.

Aims

  • plan for, teach and evaluate learning experiences for whole classes and distinguish success and failure in these.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the place of the subject within the school context. 
  • demonstrate awareness of the needs of learners. 
  • relate theory and practice through mini research in a learning context.

School Studies 3: 

(20 credits Level M)

The university based seminars will enbable you to develop an understanding of the needs of learners within a subject discipline and in schools. You will reflect upon your teaching placement (School Placement 2) in school, and continue to learn to plan and evaluate teaching experiences which consider the role of learners.

There will also be university and school based seminars on whole school issues – e.g. equal opportunities, management of the teaching environment.

Aims

  • plan for and teach whole classes and evaluate learning experiences; distinguish success and failure of learning and offer potential future teaching alternatives.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the place of the subject and whole school issues within the school context. 
  • demonstrate an extended awareness of the needs of learners. 
  • relate theory and practice of learning through case-study methods.

School Studies 4: 

(20 credits Level M)

During these university based seminars, you will develop an understanding of the needs of learners within your main subject discipline or within an alternative subject and schools. 

Aims

  • plan for and teach whole classes, evaluate learning experiences and know how to adapt teaching to respond to success and failure in learning.
  • demonstrate a wider knowledge of teaching /learning situations through another subject or extended main subject studies. 
  • relate theory and practice of subject specific pedagogy through small-scale research in the learning environment.

Teaching Experience 1: 

(30 credits Level 3)

You will observe lessons and teach on average half a normal teacher’s timetable, providing relevant documentation for every lesson taught. You will have discussions with tutors, mentors and teachers focus on pupils’ learning and the experience of teaching.

This module is closely linked with the School Studies modules where the theoretical underpinning of the practice is discussed to enable the students to analyse the ideas in practice. Much of the module will depend upon your individual work as a practitioner and reflecting upon practice.

Aims

  • plan for and teach whole classes and evaluate learning experiences (3-11 or 11-18 age range). 
  • create a majority of successful experiences. 
  • demonstrate an understanding of the implications of whole school issues and subject content in relation to teaching

Teaching Experience 2: 

(10 credits Level M)

This module will explore your continuing reflective and analytical development as you review your teaching and learning. It is closely linked with the School Studies modules where the theoretical underpinning of the practice is discussed to enable you to analyse the ideas in practice.

The contact time will allow you to develop your theoretical framework and to develop pathways for future personal and professional development.

Aims

  • plan for and teach whole classes and evaluate learning experiences (primary/secondary schools). 
  • demonstrate an understanding of the implications of practice to future development as a teacher. 
  • demonstrate reflective, analytical and evaluative skills


     

Fees and funding

Fees for 2014–15 are: £9,000 (UK/EU full-time), £13,665 (overseas full-time). This course attracts bursaries of up to £20,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priorities to increase the number of Physics teachers.

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency. Government training bursaries may be available depending on your subject and degree classification.

The Institute of Physics are awarding Teacher Training Scholarships to the most outstanding individuals, worth £25,000. Closing date 20th December 2013.

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.

Entry requirements

A degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject is required. Your honours degree should have significant physics content. If this is not the case then you might consider an subject knowledge enhancement course before starting at Birmingham. You will also need to demonstrate a breadth of commitment to sciences, to enable competence across the entire curriculum for 11-14 year old children.

All candidates also have to:

  • have a GCSE in English (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification; alternatively you might be advised to take an Equivalency Test 
  • pass Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy; please see the Professional Skills Tests section of the Department for Education web site for more information on the core skills required by trainee teachers
  • provide a satisfactory medical form 
  • complete an enhanced DBS/police check
  • complete a Declaration of Suitability to Teach
  • adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise 

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training Portal. Applications can be made 21st November 2013 for the following September start. An early application gives more time for remediation if there are concerns about the quality of your candidature. 

UCAS code: F3X1

Learning and teaching

Course Structure

The PGDipEd is divided into five phases: 

  1. Preparation (university-based with some activities in school) 
  2. School Placement 1 (seven week placement in school with tutor visit and one day at the university) 
  3. Development (university-based with some activities in school) 
  4. School Placement 2 (twelve week block placement with tutor visits and two university days);
  5. Completion (two further weeks in your second school and two weeks at the university).

The course includes the following areas of study: 

  • Subject-based teaching methods 
  • School-based work 
  • Whole-school issues

Subject-based teaching methods

You follow one main method programme, each of which occupies at least three half-days a week for five weeks in each of the autumn and spring terms and two weeks in the summer term. In some subjects a field course, involving work with children, may replace a number of single days in the year. Assessment is based on coursework undertaken during the year.  

School-based work  

School-based work is an important part of the programme, with students normally spending 24 weeks in schools. The combination of block practice and other periods of work in schools enables you to benefit from both carefully supported introductory work in different schools and the experience of spending a significant length of time in one school.

The final assessment of teaching is based on the spring/summer term school placement. Assessment is shared between University tutors, staff responsible for students in schools, and external examiners. All aspects of your contribution to the life of the school are taken into account, in particular the teaching of your main subject.

Prior to the start of the autumn term you are expected to undertake a preliminary period of observation in a primary/middle school near your home or lodgings. During the course supervised experience and practice are arranged in schools of various kinds across the 11–18 age range. We are fortunate in being able to work with a wide range of partnership schools, including mixed comprehensives, single-sex schools and sixth-form colleges. Many of the schools offer opportunities to work with pupils from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  

Whole-school issues

This area of study is concerned with aspects of education that are of importance to all intending teachers, irrespective of their particular teaching subjects. It is designed to provide you with a breadth of awareness, depth of insight and development of skills through a range of themes studied by all students. Themes currently include Managing Inclusion, Monitoring and Assessment, and Pastoral Care and Citizenship.  

Tutoring and support

You will personally be allocated a university tutor who will guide and support you throughout your PGDipEd (QTS), along with a dedicated school mentor when on placement.

Progression

Once you have completed your PGDipEd (QTS) and successfully passed your induction year you may return to study with us on a part-time basis to complete a 60 credit dissertation and obtain an MEd in Teaching Studies

Assessment methods

All students have to complete six modules, five of which require a written assignment. In addition all students complete two teaching placements and have to meet the Teachers' Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Employability

Many schools have a high regard for Birmingham Science: Physics PGDipEd (QTS) students and we have an excellent record of students gaining jobs at the end of the course. Extensive career support is available to and the majority of students obtain employement before they have completed their course. Many of our ex-students have been promoted to positions of responsibility, including Advanced Skills Teachers within the first 2 or 3 years.

Comments from former students

Billy

"In a constantly changing educational environment, my PGDipEd course has proved invaluable. In addition to enabling me to teach lessons to engage a wide range of students, I also completed the course with a solid foundation of pedagogy which enables me to adapt to the rapidly evolving educational landscape. The opportunity to explore wider educational issues with trainees and teachers from a broad background has also developed my interest and understanding of many of the issues within education. A strong esprit de corps along with personalised and accessible support made a tough and rigorous training year enjoyable. I strongly recommend the MEd too!"

Ethan

"I thought we were assessed very well, our school mentors were dedicated and were able to comment on us holistically - where colleagues from other universities had to spend half their time in paperwork."